PASCAGOULA, Miss., May 17, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- (WITH PHOTO) Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) redelivered the first of two modernized Lupo-class frigates to the Venezuelan Navy May 16. The ships, Mariscal Sucre (F-21), and Almirante Brion (F-22), arrived in Pascagoula in January 1998 to undergo extensive modernization and upgrade. F-22 will be redelivered this summer.

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The modernization project aboard the two 20-year-old Italian-built frigates included repairs, modernization and upgrades in most areas, from the ship's hull to propulsion, weapons, electronics and communications systems.

The ship's crew, led by its commanding officer, Cmdr. Jesus Ortega Hernandez, conducted a brief redelivery ceremony for Mariscal Sucre on the east bank facilities of Ingalls Operations.

"We are proud to have played a part in returning this ship to its honored place as an active unit of the Venezuelan Armada to secure the seas around Venezuela," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector. "With the repairs, modernization and upgrading of ship systems, the ship's life has been extended for many more years. Its capabilities greatly exceed anything imagined 20 years ago. It has the newest technology available as a result of the craftsmanship and the expertise of hundreds of Northrop Grumman shipbuilders who've put millions of man-hours into this ship."

The project involved the efforts not only of hundreds of craftsmen and technicians at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, but also an international team of subcontractors and suppliers, including companies in Israel, Italy, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, England and Switzerland. All of the personnel involved with this project worked daily with members of the Venezuelan Inspection Commission, who have been living in several communities along the Gulf Coast during the entire project.

The 2,500 DWT frigate is 372 feet (112.8 M) long with a beam of 53 feet (15.9 M) and a draft of 22 feet (6.5 M). The ship's propulsion is supplied by two 35,000 HP gas turbine engines and/or two diesel engines and can power the ship to a top speed of 36 knots. With the modernization, berthing space was reduced from 182 to a crew of131.

"It is important to point out the good working relationship between Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations and the Venezuelan Navy during the performance of this modernization contract," said Venezuelan Director of Naval Logistics Adm. Carlos Alberto Millan Millan, who was in command of the frigate four years ago when the ship arrived at Ingalls. "As the Venezuelan Navy's newest flagship, our increased combat capability and sophisticated technology will place it ahead of all other ships in its class and place our Navy as the spearhead of all navies of Latin America."

The crew for F-21, which arrived earlier this month, will continue with two more weeks of onboard training. The Mariscal Sucre is scheduled for departure at the end of May.

"Our Navy leaders had a vision to conceive this project four years ago to create a new stage in the life of this ship for the security and defense of the country," said Cmdr. Hernandez. "The dedication and effort of the shipbuilders at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems have made the modernization of this ship a reality."

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., includes facilities in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Mississippi, as well as New Orleans, La. The sector, which currently employs more than 17,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is an $18 billion, global defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and nuclear and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With nearly 100,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

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  CONTACT:  Jim McIngvale
          Northrop Grumman Ship Systems 
          (228) 935-3971